The Ring and the First Date

In “Anecdotal Tales”, stories will be told. Some will be fun, some will not. Some will be great, some will be less so. Some stories are true, some are merely possible. This is one of them.

The Ring and the First Date

She just seemed so darn nice.  I mean, in this world of people that are busily busing and bustling, she had this pleasant way about her.

We met in church.  “Met” would be a loose term; perhaps even inaccurate.  I started coming to the church after she did, so she already had her pew assignment all figured out.  Me, I had nothing to prove.  I sat in the middle of the middle.  The cool college kids sat off to the left.  The older folks tended towards their aisle seats in the back.  She happened to put herself about three rows from the front.

I don’t want to say that the only reason I went to that church was for attractive Christians, but it certainly wasn’t a deterrent.  Yes, I was looking for people my own age.  Still, I maintain that not once did I say, “Hey.  You look all kinds of Christian.  God thinks you and I should totally go out.”  (If you do hear that kind of line?  Run.  Run far.  Even if you’re wearing expensive heels.)  However, here was this lovely, seemingly normal, attractive gal.  So of course I took a liking to her.

Now, I’m not one that feels the need to introduce myself on first encounter.  I’m a patient enough type; I can wait to feel out a situation.  The more I waited, the more I wondered what was taking me so long.

I’m not a Christian that takes communion; it has never felt like something that I needed to do.  I stood in front of my seat and thought about God while everybody else lined all nice and orderly, took their bread and wine, and walked back to their seat.  I still think I’m probably the only one who just stood there the whole time.  (I checked with the pastors.  They didn’t really care.  They do communion their way, I practice it mine.)  However, whenever she was one of the servers, she just looked so darn welcoming.  She leaned towards people and smiled.  It was a pretty great smile.  She had that air about her; a kindness.  I’m a firm believer that there is not enough kindness in the world so how could I ignore someone who exemplified it so well?

As with all things that seem pretty intriguing, there was a catch.  She liked to raise her hand toward the ceiling during certain songs.  There, on the important finger, was a ring.  Well, shoot.  I checked for several Sundays to be certain.  Every week, there it was just as it had been before.

I don’t break up couples.  It’s bad mojo.  I figured some guy was rather blessed to have her in his life and I couldn’t blame him for making a commitment.  I thought the ring was a little small, personally, but if she liked it then that was all that mattered.  I assumed that the fellow had won the bout and I should keep to myself.

Yet, she still seemed so darn nice.  We were a few rows apart so there wasn’t really any reason for interaction between us.  I didn’t need to pass her the offering plate, she didn’t ask to share my hymnal; we just existed in our own little circles and that was fine.  Then, at some later time, we were encouraged to greet others in church.  I figured that was as good a time as any.  I walked up to her, told her that it was silly that we hadn’t said hello, and we both politely laughed at the awkwardness that we had both seen each other but were just now speaking.  Surely I could have a friend who was engaged; I’ve done it before.

After that, we talked a bit.  There was no time for actual conversations, just chit-chat.  I went jogging straight after church and used the excuse that I didn’t want to be late for my running buddy.  At the same time, she always had people waiting to speak to her.  I could hardly blame them.  I did start to question where this guy was.  If he loved her enough to give her a ring, how could he be okay with not sitting next to her each Sunday morning?  So I did what any person in this age of technology does.  I sent her a message on Facebook.

I’d like to state that it was a grand e-mail; that the lines and phrases were inspiring and that none could have matched their brilliance while attaining the perfect amount of sentimentality.  The problem with that is that my parents raised me not to lie.  I can’t even claim the above as a slight exaggeration.  No, I’m sure it was something along the lines of, “You seem interesting.  I’d like to take you to coffee if you’re up for it”.  (shrug)  There are times when I am less than eloquent.

For some reason, she agreed.  We figured an area near the church was a safe halfway point for both of us, so we met at the closest coffee shop.  It was towards the middle of the week and I had a break between my two jobs so I walked to my destination.  I arrived; as is my habit, early.  Quite early.  Too early.  I peeked inside the store just to make sure that she wasn’t as early.  I didn’t see her, so I planted myself in one of the chairs outside and did my best to look calm and nonchalant.  I would like to think that I pulled it off, but I would also like to think that credit card bills won’t make me cringe.  Regardless, it was a nice, cloudless, sunny day outside.  There are far worse weather conditions to be had in Seattle, so I lounged about wishing there were fewer cars on the road.

About ten minutes after we were supposed to meet, she came out of the store.  She had been inside studying for class the entire time.  I made my apologies, and eventually we sat down and started having a discussion.  This, sadly, was not my greatest moment of conversation.  I’m pretty sure that I said, “What haven’t I asked you about…” or “What can I ask you nex…t” to her three or four times.  In an hour.  There were long pauses.  Honestly, it was rather sad.

She, however, was pretty much what I expected.  She was very kind.  Her family sounded like they were just as welcoming as she was.  She was from a desert state so the hot sun didn’t bother her a bit.  She was trying to make a career out of helping people.  In short, she was rather impressive.

Oh, and I found out about the ring.  She hadn’t mentioned any boyfriend or fiancée in the first half hour of our chat, so I inquired about her jewelry.  She talked about her earrings.  Since I did not get the answer I had been looking for, I tried again.  In my own, oh-so subtle way, I prompted, “Tell me about this ring here.”  She looked at the small jewel on her finger and smiled, “Oh, that’s my purity ring.”

My brain was annoyed.  That’s it?  That’s why I’ve waited this long to talk to you, I thought to myself.  Because of a purity ring?  Really?  I believe what I actually said out loud was something to the tune of, “Oh, well that’s nice.”

After about an hour we had decided that was probably enough for the day.  A hug was exchanged, she went back to school and I walked back to work.  When I got back and looked at myself in the mirror I saw just how red I was.  Sunburns don’t visit me often, but when they do they leave parting gifts that I don’t soon forget.  It was effectively deployed, thorough, and painful.  Yet if I had to do it again, I would have.  Even though there was never a second date, I still maintain that it was worth it.

At the end of the day I had successfully learned three lessons.  One, if you’re curious about something (especially if it is a someone), you’d better get off your butt and just ask questions.  The answers may not be what you were expecting.  Two, sunscreen is our friend.  We should embrace it.  Finally, and most importantly, I had given it a shot.  I didn’t have to be that guy who sits in the pew and wonders.  I was the guy who was curious, took action, and doesn’t have to remember her in twenty years and wonder, “what if”.  I don’t have to speculate because I was brave enough to find out the truth.

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About anecdotaltales
He's a simple enough fellow. He likes movies, comics, radio shows from the 40's, and books. He likes to write and wishes his cat wouldn't shed on his laptop.

2 Responses to The Ring and the First Date

  1. Gracias. 🙂 Thanks for taking the time to leave kind words.

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